The value of trust

8 July 2019

With regulatory scrutiny of operators’ responsible gaming and player protection processes increasing, operators need to ensure their advertising is compliant with an evolving set of industry standards. However, as Income Access’ Melissa Del Gaudio points out, customers are increasingly motivated by trust when transacting with a brand, meaning businesses that embrace social responsibility could profit significantly.

For igaming brands, affiliates and operators, anticipating market developments is essential to staying ahead of the competition, especially in saturated markets. In terms of the evolving regulatory landscape, European stakeholders need to be increasingly dedicated to strategic planning and responsiveness as they look to establish an advantageous position within the industry.

For example, over the last few years the GB Gambling Commission has increased its scrutiny on the area of responsible gambling and player protection. As a result, realising the goal of being an industry leader will require a consistent, vigilant study of evolving industry standards. It requires focus on regulations and compliance, innovative marketing tactics and a comprehensive analysis of prospective digital acquisition channels, all the while keeping enhanced user experience top of mind.

Collaborative Marketing Efforts with Affiliates
Adhering to industry standards requires in-depth knowledge of standards and policies surrounding the promotion of igaming brands, especially as it pertains to affiliate marketing.

For brands, effective marketing begins with identifying and understanding your audience, creating content that ranks and packaging it for each channel. Additionally, a revenue-based compensation model that encourages long-term affiliate partnerships, paired with an emphasis on reliability, will make a programme more durable. Maintaining affiliate engagement is an activity that also feeds into building trust and brand loyalty.

Strengthening existing digital channels creates a more authoritative and sustainable marketing mix. By regularly monitoring the performance of each source of traffic, businesses can focus on those that work best, optimise their approach and increase allocated budgets to tailor a strategy for success.

In terms of websites, it’s still all about ranking. Content and keywords are the drivers of a favourable search engine results pages (SERP) ranking, in addition to quality creative materials, licensing information, contact details and a terms and conditions section explicitly stating any relevant restrictions. Ensuring a healthy return on investment (ROI) also requires an investment in affiliate relationships, which in turn translates into loyalty.

Player loyalty has evolved beyond premiums, instead being motivated by connecting with a trustworthy brand and feeling valued as a customer. Brands with limited marketing spend should turn their focus on displaying value through each interaction in the acquisition funnel. From first click to deposit to withdrawal, a good experience from the start will solidify a brand’s reputation in the market.

Businesses can exhibit a forward-thinking approach to marketing by recognising and responding to emerging trends, including the ever-growing appeal of influencer marketing within the igaming market.

Influencers cultivate strong relationships within their community and can drive high levels of engagement as a result. If leveraged correctly, this can deliver a high ROI for affiliates, especially when coupled with popular channels like Twitch, which according to its own figures, has more than 15 million unique daily visitors. Businesses can work with influencers through ad promotions, YouTube videos, sponsored giveaways and more. Strategic corporate partnerships can also help elevate brand awareness and credibility.

Strengthening these relationships through marketing can encourage more productive discussions about developing a trustworthy reputation in a highly regulated industry.

Building a trustworthy brand
Earlier this year, the Gambling Commission released its Gambling Participation in 2018 study, which explored UK consumer behaviour and highlighted the importance of reputation among customers when selecting an operator. Of those surveyed, 24% selected ‘reputation of a company for being fair and trustworthy’ as the most important factor. It was the second-most popular choice behind “best odds”, which had 26%. 

Recent updates to the Commission’s license conditions and codes of practice (LCCP) introduced changes to identification and verification checks that are required, with specific mention of access by children and young persons to gambling. This was partly in response to a trend for ads targeting minors. As a result, operators are required to implement firm controls in this area.

Embracing automation, such as biometrics, would allow operators to leverage facial recognition systems to quickly identify and onboard consumers, bolstering their commitment to due diligence. Adopting enhanced technologies before they become mandatory will offer higher standards of protection for consumers and an easier registration process.

In addition to introducing proactive measures, customer base expansion is also achieved through relevant partnerships that align with a brand’s business and offer complementary products or services.

Rightlander, a UK-based supplier of monitoring tools and services for advertising campaigns, provides clients with automated tools to review content to help meet and maintain regulatory standards in various jurisdictions. As heightened advertising regulations require operators to ensure responsible marketing practices, a partnership like this establishes brands as strict followers of these ethics.

IGaming’s evolution in regulation and marketing is accompanied by a desire for more diverse and secure payment methods for punters. Choice, flexibility and convenience are important elements, as operators that support multiple currencies are well positioned to attract more punters, thus optimising conversion rates and capitalising on emerging markets. 

Consumer loyalty and UX
A brand is born with an idea or unique selling point, but grows through evolution and consumer loyalty. To that point, once a lead has been converted, the focus should be directed towards retention and repeat visits to maximise customer value and promote a sustainable and consistent revenue stream.

Loyalty incentives will differ according to vertical, market and consumer demand, which can be thoroughly assessed through detailed, actionable data. Traditional loyalty plans include custom programmes, personalised emails, feedback via surveys and bonus incentives like coupons and codes.

Tiered incentives are the favoured option in the igaming space as they apply gamification and are reasonably attainable. Programmes outside of igaming, such as Sephora’s successful Beauty Insider community programme have shown the potential growth that a stakeholder’s user list could experience.

As new business opportunities emerge within the igaming industry, stakeholders will position themselves for greater success by building a winning marketing strategy that encourages adaptability, responsiveness and customer loyalty. This will facilitate the ability to evolve alongside the industry’s compliance rules and emerging technologies, equipping operators for heightened levels of competition, particularly in saturated markets.

As senior business development manager, Melissa del Gaudio manages new business opportunities by consulting with partners on how to best leverage Income Access’ marketing technology and services. Holding over 10 years’ industry experience and a bachelor’s degree in commerce from Montreal’s Concordia University, she possesses a strategic approach to driving strong business performance.